It was a flight the passengers would never forget, and it seems likely that the airline won’t either.
According to WKMG, sisters Trisha Baker and Debbie Hartman were removed from an Allegiant Airways airplane after getting into a verbal altercation with the flight attendant. The airline claims they were a “threat.” The sisters say they were trying to console one another.
Baker and Hartman were traveling from Sanford, Florida, to Asheville, North Carolina, to visit their sick father who was in hospice care when they received a text message: He only had a few hours to live.
They were upset. The flight was running late and they wanted to be with their family. Hartman got up from her seat to sit next to her sister. That’s when a flight attendant asked Hartman to return to her seat, and the situation escalated.
During an interview with “CBS This Morning,” Hartman said she started to have a panic attack. She told the attendant:
“You’re being very rude. My father is dying, and I’m comforting her.”
But the flight attendant refused to back down. She told the sisters that they needed to “keep [their] personal problems off the plane.” At this point, the flight attendant spoke with the captain and asked that the plane return to the airport.
The women were escorted off the plane by airport security. They missed their father’s final moments while they waited for another flight to Asheville.
The other passengers were upset by the situation; one of them even posted her reaction to YouTube. She said:
“I hope the airline does something about this. That was the most inhumane, deplorable thing I’ve ever seen any human being do.”
Since then, many other people have posted their responses to the situation on social media. One person was upset by the lack of compassion for the sisters’ situation:
— Jody Larose (@Netmeetme) January 5, 2017
Some people already thought the airline had a terrible reputation:
I hope it's not as crass as this sounds. Allegiant already has bad service rep.This would add more bad PR. https://t.co/6kT3LTA710
— mike.mccarron (@CAPTMCMcCarron) January 5, 2017
In a statement issued by the airline regarding the incident, the company said:
“At Allegiant we rely on our crew members to provide and oversee a safe environment for every passenger, on every flight. We expect that authority to be exercised both judiciously and consistently, with empathy and with good judgment. We take this customer feedback seriously and are in the process of conducting an investigation into what occurred.”
The sisters are now asking that the airline take action to terminate the employees who were involved.